Monday, November 3, 2008

Room with a crematorium

Well we went to Salzburg and had a wonderful time. We thought it would be cold but it was about 14 degrees – which is not nearly cold enough for us.

I had booked this hotel which I thought would be really weird – and it was. I had booked a suite on the basis that it was only €10 per night more than the double room. The room had a bath and a crematorium in it (Cate says it is a heater) and the picture shows what I mean.

The hotel also comprises the Mozart Kino where we could have seen the latest James Bond movie in German. I am not at all sure that this would have detracted from its attraction as an action movie but we had a lot to do and had to pass. I am also not convinced that Mozart would have been comfortable with the concept but after seeing his first ‘Mostly Mozart’ shop he probably would have been heavily sedated for some time. We did see where he was born but didn't buy his baby shoes which were on special for €19,95.

The Hotel also include the ‘Trattoria Domani’ which had an Italian menu – and to which we went twice. The first night because we knew we would get there late and so we had booked in – the second night because after walking up to the Festung and all around the city we were too tired to venture further. The Trattoria Domani on night one was staffed by Germans – and on night two it was staffed entirely by Indians. No I don’t know why Indians are running an Italian restaurant in Austria.

Our room was directly above the Trattoria Domani and the kitchen stove vented into the crematorium in the corner of the room. We enjoyed the aroma of many dinners at night and especially enjoyed the drunks leaving the restaurant late at night and throwing each other through the plate glass windows in Kaigasse. The receptionist in the hotel told us that this was their finest suite – I guess they use the others for commando training.

Salzburg is a very beautiful place – especially when it is shut tight as it was on Saturday because of the holiday. The only thing we saw open all weekend (apart from Mostly Mozart, cafés and restaurants) was the Trafik opposite the hotel. The owner opened for 15 minutes to restock the cigarette machine on the wall outside his store. The Austrians can go without everything except their cigarettes.

Instead of taking the funicular we walked up the hill to the Festung Hohensalzburg so needed coffee when we got to the top (this is our normal state). They didn’t have coffee so I had a cup of hot kitty litter and Cate wisely chose the mineral water. But I am not sure what I expected from a café that sold ‘Festungburgers’.

This is another ancient and magnificent edifice of the type which abound in Austria. We also went to a very large church which was first built in 763. It was of course festooned with angels and cherubs. We went to the MIrabellgarten where Cate took 163 pictures of the trees. We are not accustomed to real Autumns so leaves turning brown and falling off trees in large numbers are a real treat for us.

When we arrived in our room and looked out the window we saw that there was a truly gigantic rubbish bin on the footpath just below. We wondered what this could be for and found out at 6:00 AM on Sunday Morning. The Trattoria Indians had decided to empty the entire contents of an apartment into the bin – throwing things from some height. And I mean the entire contents, tables, chairs, fridges, radios, clothes – the whole lot. By the looks of the furniture I think this apartment had been hidden from view for more than 60 years. Maybe someone walled themselves in when the allies arrived in 1945 and the Indians found the secret doorway while looking for the last packet of Basmati rice in the back of the kitchen cupboard?

After sustained complaints from the hotel they stopped for about half an hour – recommencing at 7:30 and finishing about 9:00. It was a wonderful way to start the day and we set off refreshed for the day’s adventures.

Cate lost it completely last night when Muffin got hold of one of my socks and dragged it around the house yowling pitifully. Bill then tried to sit on her head. This followed the recent back-licking incident and other atrocities. Both cats were evicted from the bedroom immediately and have now been banned at night. They have plenty of places to be in the apartment or if they really want to they can sit outside our door and yowl. This won’t bother us because there are double doors into the bedroom so we won’t hear them. I know this seems callous but if you have ever been woken by a large cat planting its bottom on your face you will understand our need for remedial action.

This morning a very small bird landed on the terrace and died. I had just been out on the terrace cleaning out the cleaning out the Kitty Litter but I am sure that it wasn’t that potent. Goodness me – if small birds are that sensitive it’s amazing that there are any at all. These Viennese birds need to toughen up a bit. I’d suggest a weekend living in the Kaserbrau Hotel and Mozart Kino in Salzburg.

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